Bandersnatch – Netflix Interactive Movie Review

Bandersnatch is Netflix ‘s first interactive film and I think they’ve done it quite well. It was released two and a half weeks ago (so technically last year) by Netflix. Bandersnatch takes you through the journey of Stefan Butler (as portrayed by Fionn Whitehead) on his journey to create his video game Bandersnatch. It’s very similar to a Telltales game, except it’s much more movie (as you would expect) than a game.

One of the things Bandersnatch did really well was expressing the main character’s (Stefan) emotions and the impact your decisions have on him and the ramifications of your decisions on his life. The variety of stories is immense, there is a huge range of endings which can be vastly different depending on the choices you make.

Moreover, the quality of the stories also ranges, some are very unsatisfactory, some are great. Some of the endings are really lackluster and force you to go in a different direction (such as the third decision in the film). This disappoints me as some segments feel pretty linear, and I feel like this could have been improved upon (for example having very abrupt endings that send you back to a apst decision). Despite this, I do think Bandersnatch is well executed in most areas in terms of decision making and especially the story itself.

The shots are well executed (with the occasional CGI overdose) and look great, you can see the amount of effort put into the sets. Furthermore, the scenes look amazing, the whole 70s look and feel great and it can really suck you into the atmosphere. That’s another thing I think Bandersnatch does really well except during some decision scenes.

The way viewers choose decisions in Bandersnatch is quite simple, however, I think there is an improvement that could be made that would be beneficial. Instead of having the viewer press a button to select an answer, have them simply hover over the answer. This seems like a simple change, but it allows you to quickly change your decision at the final moment (instead of being locked into something you regret). Another part of the decision-making process which removes me from my immersion is the pause in between when a decision is made and when it is done. However, I understand why they had to do this and I can overlook it.

In conclusion, Bandersnatch was very well executed and was thoroughly enjoyable. However, there is some work to be done about the whole decision-making process to make it more streamlined and enjoyable. Regardless, the stories told in Bandersnatch are great (with certain ones being better than others) with the only caveat being that some feel like dead ends which can really hurt the momentum of the story. Furthermore, another thing that hurts the story is the pauses during decision making, as I mentioned earlier, I understand why it has to exist and is willing to overlook it. Despite these cons, the real enjoyment from Bandersnatch comes from the fact that it’s your story based on your choices which you made, and in that respect, it definitely succeeds.

Final Score: 8/10

Small afternote here: If you’re going to try to get all the endings, be warned, some segments get REALLY irritating to watch over and over again (and it really takes you out of the story until you get something new).

Plays way too many games and should probably sleep more.

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Aditya Rao

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